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How Marshmallow Laser Feast turns downtime into inspiration

Marshmallow Laser Feast (MLF) is Memo Akten, Robin McNicholas and Barney Steel: a trio working at the intersection of art and technology, creating spectacular shows and installations, both for commercial clients and as works of art. We spoke to co-founder Akten to find out how staying motivated and curious during downtime has led to some of the studio's best work.

Do you have any examples where playing about with technology in 'downtime' has directly influenced a commercial project?

Our projects such as Body Paint, Gold and Webcam Piano were all personal and self-initiated. Before them, there were countless experiments and demos which led up to them. A lot of that personal experimentation made its way into commissioned work. My experiments with fluid simulations and physics made its way into an opera - My Secret Heart.

What's your best advice for keeping focused during your downtime?

One of the best pieces of advice I've found is to keep yourself inspired. I started doing what I do before the days of the web. In those days you weren't bombarded with inspiration, you had to work to find it. Also, give yourself projects and deadlines. This one is quite hard to stick to. I have probably about a hundred personal projects I want to do right now.

Anything else?

Don't be lazy. Seriously. Don't watch crap on TV. Don't waste time. If you want to do something, don't look for excuses, just get off your arse and do it.

Words: Ed Ricketts

This article originally appeared in Computer Arts issue 222.

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